Photojournalists manhandled, media persons protest

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 3/17/2017 10:07:50 AM

Kashmir Editors Guild condemns incident

SRINAGAR, Mar 16: Photojournalists today held a protest demanding action against a particular police officer for allegedly manhandled a senior photo journalist.
Narrating the incident, the victim photojournalist Touseef Mustafa who works for the International Agency ‘Agence France Presse’ (AFP) told media that police stopped them when they tried to enter inside Hurriyat headquarters at Hyderpora, where a joint meeting of Resistance leadership was underway.
“As police arrested Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yaseen Malik and tried to bundle them into police vehicles, we as part of our profession and duty clicked photographs. To my utter surprise, a police officer stopped me and tried to snatch my lens. When I resisted, he manhandled me. The behavior and action of the said police officer was uncalled for,” Mustafa said.
Lensman Mubashir Khan said that a police Rakshak ‘intentionally’ hit him while he was performing his duties at the site. “We fail to understand we are being repeatedly targeted. Police and Government should understand that we are apolitical and only do our job for our respective media houses,” Khan said. The protesting journalists demanded action against the erring police officer.
The protesting photo journalists assembled at Press Enclave here under the banner of ‘Kashmir Press Photographers Association’ (KPPA) shortly after the incident. They alleged that it has become a routine for some police officers to harass and manhandle journalists in Kashmir Valley.
“Today’s incident is not a new one. Such incidents have been taking place on daily basis while authorities did not take note of them. The behavior of the ‘arrogant’ police officer outside Hurriyat headquarters on Thursday made it clear that some police officials are hell-bent to choke the voice and rights of the scribes in Kashmir Valley,” Farooq Javaid, president KPPA said.
Meanwhile, Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) has strongly condemned the police action against newsmen while covering the attempted joint press conference of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik at Hyderpora. While entire press corps that had assembled to cover the event were threatened and chased, at least two news photographers were beaten for no reason at all, a statement of the guild said.
There are clear photo and video evidences offering a clear detail of the police assault.
KEG has taken a strong exception to the misuse of power for muzzling the media. This has, unfortunately, been a routine than an exception. Last time, while photographers were covering an event in Bijbehara, cops actually fired a projectile on one of them outside the hospital gate, thus pushing him to hospital for many weeks for a broken arm.
Given the frequency with which the police is abusing its authority to restrict the role and responsibility of the media, KEG is seeking an intervention of the government at the highest level to ensure that state’s principal arm does not exhibit an abnormal growth.
KEA spokesperson while demanding stringent punishment to the arrogant police official has asked Chief Minister and Police Chief to ensure safety of scribes working in and outside the field. “Photographs and video evidences of today’s unfortunate incident are enough to initiate action against the police officer,” he said.
Meanwhile, a police hand out this evening said, “Today there was apprehension of breach of peace outside the residence of Syed Ali Shah Geelani at Hyderpora during which the road leading to Airport got blocked and Police present had to intervene to ensure smooth flow of traffic. During this, some Photo journalists who were trying to approach to the residence of Syed Ali Shah Geelani were requested not to proceed ahead as it would have escalated the situation. The Photo journalists remained adamant and tried to proceed ahead without giving any heed to the request of the Police. They later protested alleging high-handedness of Police and demanded action. The higher officers of the Police Department have taken cognizance of the matter which is being looked into.”



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